Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents focus on safety of region's water supply

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) "We're hear to say, Don't touch our drinking water!"

Delegate Sam Rasoul joined other pipeline opponents for a news conference Tuesday morning on the banks of the Roanoke River.

They said environmental reviews haven't done enough to evaluate the impact of the pipeline both during and after construction, on the Roanoke River, the Spring Hollow Reservoir, ground water supplies and countless creeks throughout the region.

"Imagine this right here, right here in this little tributary to the Roanoke River," said Tammy Belinsky pointing to a map of Roanoke County. "That's what we're facing over thirty times on Bent Mountain."

The General Manager and Brewmaster of Parkway Brewing Company said negative impact on water quality could stunt the region's economic growth.

"Deschutes and Ballast Point didn't come here because the water sucked," said Mike Pensinger. "They came here because the water's good and the quality of life is good. So do we let this impact us to the point where these people who have put millions of dollars into our economy make a second choice about what they're doing?"

An MVP spokesperson says construction activities are not likely to significantly impact groundwater resources because the majority of construction would involve shallow excavations.

And the company promises other precautions both during and after construction to ensure water quality.

Following is a statement from the company:

"As stated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the FERC, MVP constructions activities are not likely to significantly impact groundwater resources because the majority of construction would involve shallow excavations. To begin, by adhering to the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan specifically designed for the project, MVP would prevent or adequately minimize accidental spills or materials leaks during construction activities. In addition, prior to construction MVP would file contingency plans outlining measures that would be taken to minimize potential impacts on public surface water supplies. Finally, MVP would identify drinking water resources within 150’ of construction or 500’ in karst topography areas and conduct pre-construction water quality and water yield surveys on water resources where access was granted to conduct such surveys. MVP would also conduct post-construction monitoring, with the landowner’s permission, of all water wells, springs, and other drinking water supply sources within 150’ of construction or 500’ in karst areas."

Opponents say the state has the authority and the responsibility to ensure the safety of the region's water supply. And they want the Department of Environment Quality to deny permits for the MVP project.